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Old age dog. When is it time to let go?

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Old age dog. When is it time to let go?
  • All:

    I know this post will not be pleasant to read, but I really do need help. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    I currently have 2 dogs, 1 mutt (Mickey, 14 y/o, 35lbs) and 1 toy poodle (1yr old). My husband and I live in a 800sqf apartment. A year ago, this didn't post any problem. yes, it was tight, not much space, but we were ok with it. Although my husband doesn't like Mickey due to many reasonable reasons. We did fights over Mickey some times, had conflicts, ect..

    But now, Mickey has been the main reason of our stress at home. Here's why:

    *he's not able to control his bladder or bowl as good as before. He pee almost everyday in the house. I walk him before I go to work, when I get home, after dinner, and before bed. But this doesn't help. he pee in his crate, in the middle of living room infront of us, anywhere he wants. Sometime he pee on my feet while I was cooking. He's a big dog so his pee is quite a work. My husband work long hours, so when he gets home, he spend is hours at home being angry at mickey. I was patient before but I can't hold much anymore.

    *he lost his memory or doesn't listen ( I dont' know which one). We only want him to do simple things, like do not go in the kitchen when I cook (due to him peeing on my feet so many times). But he keeps going in the kitchen, even if we push him away, scold him, spank him, whatever we do...he would turn away from the kitchen, walk a few steps and walk back to the kitchen. This really stressing me out. I would like him to be out of his crate when we're home, but sometimes we have to let him back to his crate. I feel so bad about this.

    *he always want to bite, eat something. He's always right infront of my knee, trying to see if I have anything for him to eat. I can't walk a full step because he's always right there. I tripped several times becuase of this. He even bit my hands thinking there was something in my hand to eat. This is really annoying.

    *he knocks off his water bow and food bow whenever he eats/drink. I think this is due to poor eyesight.

    *he always breath on us...ALWAYS... right infront of us. When we eat, he's right there few inches away from our food, breathing on us. When we watch TV he's right there breathing on us. We tried to get him to give us distance but nothign work. He doesn't listen or has no memory of whatever.

    *he shed so much..really a lot. I weep the floor almost every 2 days but still so much fur flying around.

    These problems are very stressful to us.. Especially now that I just found out I'm 2 months pregnant, and that we're living in a small apartment for another 2 years (due to my husband job location), I don't know what I need to do. When the baby comes, the baby will not have much space. Given that Mickey is stressing us out so much like this, what do we need to do as we're getting ready for our baby?

    Everytime I think of giving him up, it breaks my heart. But this situation post many dangers for my baby, and causes so much stress and conflicts btw my husband and I. What should I do? please help.

  • Sounds like you guys are going through some very rough times with your older dog.  I know how stressful that is and I can tell by your post that you are feeling very desperate and very conficted.  Step back, if you can, and look at it from the point of view of your old dog.  He doesn't realize why he is being crated and yelled at for peeing on the floor.  It sounds like he could be experiencing cognitive dysfunction (senility).  Can you take him to the Veterinarian?  Fourteen is not that old for a small dog (35lbs?).  It is very possible that with some medication and some alterations in his diet that he can improve.  You can buy doggie diapers and this can prevent the peeing on the florr and your feet.  Just remember to take them off when he goes outside.

    Dealing with an older dog is very much like dealing with an elderly parent.  Even when we love someone very much, the day to day struggles can be overwhelming.  What helps us get through is our love and our memories of all the shared times and the unconditional love we receive.  I truly do understand your fears with a baby on the way but I think you may just need to remember what this dog has meant to you in the past and remember that he is not doing any of this out of spite or meanness.  He absolutely needs and totally relies on you to help him through this time.

    Maybe he will need to be put to sleep.  If you are unable to afford any recommendations from the Vet or your husband is unwilling to give a little then it would be kinder to put this dog out of his misery.  Please don't take him to a shelter in the hope that someone will adopt him.  I don't want you to feyou are being judged as a bad, uncaring person.  I just want you to try and look at it from your dog's point of view. 

    This forum is full of people who have gone through what you are experiencing and even worse.  We do care very much how you and this dog are doing.  I know you will get more advice and I hope some of it will help you and your family.

  • hi JackieG,

    Thank you so  much for your kind response. It helps me feel a little better.

    Yes, I've taken him to the vet and all he can say was that "old age". He checked his eyes and told me that he probably doesn't see much..due to caterate (sp), ect. The vet said there's nothing I can do except just accept the dog is getting old. I feed my dogs one of the best food out there, nutro natural holistic food (very expensive) and been feeding him this the last couple years. I doubt it's the food. The vet also found a lot of lumps around his tummy, legs, neck. He said they are fat deposits and old age dogs have them. There's nothing he can do and he doesnt' suggest surgeries since there are many.

    My husband doesn't understand the heart breaking I'm going through because he's not really a dog person and also he never grew up with this dog as I did.

    I really hope whatever I decide, God will help me through it..

    Thanks again for your support.


  • It is so much harder to deal with this when you don't have your husband's support.  I'm sorry the Vet didn't offer any solutions for your dog.  I know that God will help you through this whatever you decide.  And you are the ONLY one who knows what is best for you and your dog.  No one can be in your shoes and feel what you are having to go through.  The stess of this is not good for you and your baby.  If you decide to put him to sleep, be with him and comfort him and let him go to a better place.  It is the hardest decision a dog lover ever makes and I know how much you love your dog or you wouldn't have asked for advice.  You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • I'm at work -- so I really can't take much time with this but will come back to it later.

    My first question has to be *where* are you located.  You refer to Nutro as a 'holistic' food so I'm wondering if you are not in the US?  It's a very common, not particularly high end food here (altho the "Ultra" is a far better food). 

    The rest of the things I would suggest may be more difficult for you to come by if you are outside the US, so if you could help on that it would be better.

    Have you tried belly-banding Mickey (putting continence pads on him by strapping them on with a belly band) so he *can't* soil in the house).??

  • if you decide to let him go, have him put down instead of putting him through the stress of a shelter/rehoming. Being angry at a dog because the dog is old is just well, cruel. As is thinking anyone will adopt him.

    Look into doggy diapers. Baby gate him out of the kitchen. Crate him while you eat. Get heavier bowls to feed him out of and put water-proof trays under them. I'm not sure why him being there while you watch TV is a problem?  could you put him on a special bed or mat with a bone or stuffed kong to work on when you don't want him in your space?

  • mudpuppy,

    I've been trying very hard to not be angry at mickey. I know it's not his fault for getting old, and whatever he did wasn't because he hates me. I totally understand this. This is why I'm so stress out, heart broken, and I was ok to deal with him before I found out I'm pregnantm, eventhough my husband and I had conflicts often because of this dog.

    Having dogs being with us while we watch TV is not a problem. The problem is, he doesn't know distance and he would be right there infront of me (if I let him, he probably is touching my face with his nose all the time-and I understand maybe becuase he doesn't see well) , staring at me, and breathing hard on me. If I block the open area between coffee table and sofa, he'd go infront of the table, infornt of the tv and stare at us.

    I've given him so many toys, kongs, bones to distract him..but as long as he's eating something he's away from us. If he's not eating, he's right infront of me,leaving no space to do anything else. Oh yeah, he would step on my foot every single day because he's right there infront of me. And that hurt. But this is not why I'm so stressed out. The main reason I'm so stressed out because I don't know how I'd care for this dog when the baby arrive. This is really my concern. I know his problems will get worse as he gets older. People who love dog would go extra miles to keep loving them and providing them a good home. I love my dogs, and I've been doing my best to care for them. Even when I'm broke, I still buy them good dog food, feed them eggs each week, buy them toys, keep them warm. But when it comes to your own child, what would you do if you know the dog you love would post some problems with the family? I don't want my husband to come home and be angry at the dog on top of being stressed out of crying baby.




  • Callie,
    Sorry I was incorrect on the food. It was nutro ultra. I live in Texas.

  • Does he not respond to you?  In other words -- when he's standing in front of you is he simply trying to get your attention FOR a reason?  Like "i have to go OUT ... NOW!!"

    My solution would be literally to leash him in the house.  Then with the lead you can control and direct him.  Get him to come by your side and lie down.  If you sit and stroke him calmly -- will he lie down and sleep?  Does this dog EVER sleep?

    Dogs, like humans, get their clocks confused as they age.  They often wander at night and sleep during the day.  There are actually calmatives that can help that and even that out. 

    I guess I have to ask -- what happens *when* the dog stares at you -- is it ALL the time?  Is stepping on your feet simply a bid for attention? 

    In other words -- yes -- much of this is because of aging but often that can be because they know they aren't getting what they need/want and are trying the only way that seems to work to get your attention.

     So I guess I'm trying to find out what *does* calm the dog down?  What can get the dog to LIE down?

    Have you ever obedience trained Mickey?  Does Mickey respond to any commands at all?  Does Mickey *hear* you??  Can you call Mickey and have the dog respond?

     Much of having an elderly dog is learning to cope with them.  In the case of a new baby, yes - definite steps would need to be taken. 

    You'd have to belly band Mickey.  Does he go outside to poop?  Is it only urine that he can't hold?  Did the vet DO a urinalysis to be *sure* there was no infection?  Some vets will make a 'guess' rather than run a small test that might cost a bit of money -- and frankly that's not fair to Mickey.  A urinalysis would only be a small test and it *might* show something that could be fixed.

     If you have never done so, you truly need to have your carpets cleaned thru the home -- because I'll wager there are certain spots that have been repeatedly soiled and it is incredibly difficult to get those odors out of the carpet that you and I can't smell.  Dogs can smell them and once they make a habit of soiling inside often it is just that -- HABIT.  It's accepted.  They do it all the time.  You feel powerless and the dog assumes it's just what he does. 

    Mickey may be truly incontenent at this point -- it happens.  BUT you can help that enormously.  You can make "belly bands" (or you can buy them online) -- somewhat waterrpoof they usually wrap around the middle with a velcro closure.  But INSIDE you place a human continence pad the full length of it and then put it on with the pad underneath him so it catches all the leaks. 

    You'll need to change it several times a day -- and definitely take it off when you let him outside.  But it's simply something you make a habit.  I had a female who was completely incontinent (she was on Lasix for her heart AND she had a huge tumor the full length of her urethra) and we dealt with it for years.  It can be done.  Truly.

    That's honestly the subject of another topic/post because it's critical to make sure the young dog doesn't imitate Mickey. 

    I honestly suspect, though, from what you've said that you may never have obedience trained Mickey and maybe not the puppy either.

    THAT is a huge enormous mistake.  Because you will have to train the puppy to do certain things or he will immitate the older dog. 

  •  I know that your vet has said that the dog is just getting old, but what you are complaining about sound like the symptoms of Canine Cognitive Dysfunction a.k.a dog senility and there are drugs for this.  If your vet won't prescribe them go to another vet.  Really, this is a life or death situation, if they do work, you have solved the problem, Mickey gets to live.  If they don't work, you will be no worse off then you are right now, where Mickey is under a real threat of being put to sleep.

  • There is a drug called Proin for dogs unable to control their bladder.  It's inexpensive.  I'm surprised your vet didn't suggest it. 

  • If he's not eating, he's right infront of me,leaving no space to do anything else. Oh yeah, he would step on my foot every single day because he's right there infront of me. And that hurt .

    is this a new behavior or has he always done this? 


  • Pregnancy really has nothing to do with this unless your pregnancy is abnormal in some way, for instance the doc puts you on bed rest.  In his current condition, and at his age, your dog probably will not be alive once your baby becomes a toddler, which is when most of the trouble would occur anyway.  It is a kindness to put him down if you cannot tend to his needs - hitting and yelling are disconcerting to the old boy, and since he obviously loves you so deeply, and trying to remain close to you, it's apparent that he is also trusting you to either make allowances for him, protect him, or let him go.  My concern would be that you not get another dog until your child is age ten or more, or your husband stops being a child.  This dog has been your faithful companion for many years, and to consider him "too much trouble" is not considerate of your relationship with the dog.  To consider what is in *his* best interest at this stage of his life is.  Responsible ownership requires that, IMO.  You got many good suggestions on how to deal with your dog's disabilities and frailties, so hopefully, you can make a better informed choice about what to do. 

  •  I really don't understand what the "problem" is? Did I read that his shedding is a problem? Its just now a problem after 14 years? WTH!!Hmm

  • It could be that stress is causing him to shed more - he's obviously failing and can't meet his owners' expectations any more.  So, that, coupled with his physical problems...  Most dogs are very "embarrassed" at being unclean in the "den", and unless he is simply too confused, he's probably trying the best he can to appease them, and can't figure out why he's unsuccessful and being banished from areas where he was welcome before.  So sad.  (Hint to dog owners - tile floors!!!)